From the Desk of Peter Handal, CEO

Are Workplace Issues Universal Part 2

by robertr

December 3rd, 2007
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I found after my recent trip to France that work issues are all the same, no matter what country you are visiting. I was invited to speak at the United States – France Chamber of Commerce. In the audience, were executives from both the public and private sector. I was surprised to see the number of organizations represented not just from France, but from several countries in Europe, the United States and India.

What fascinated me most was the Q&A that followed. With all those diverse organizations and countries represented, all of the questions on workplace issues were the same. How to attract good people? How to motivate your people? How do you engage and retain your people? All are relevant issues no matter where you are headquartered or whether your organization is a for-profit business or a government agency.

Even on the walk from my hotel to the meeting (there was a transit strike in France at the time), it was amazing to see all the diversity right there in the shops. There were shops selling Italian designed products, American designed products, French designed products, all manufactured in France, the U.S., and China. Truly global!

Here are some tips on retaining good people:

The average employee does not enter the workplace seeking to work with the same company for a lifetime, as had been the case in past generations. Many new entrants into the job market base their choices on current opportunities and objectives, or even based on geography, instead of future stability. Employees are looking for the best salary, benefits, etc. and will change job titles, companies, and even cities until they feel that their current potential has been maximized. In order to combat this changing job market, I have a few simple, but effective solutions:

  • Make your employees feel important every day. Today's employees know how valuable their time and skills are. Unfortunately, oftentimes after we hire someone, we soon forget to remind him or her how valuable they are to the company. Be sure to let your employees know how important their contributions are to the firm. A simple pat on the back will go a long way to boost morale and make the employee feel like an integral part of the company, thus enhancing their likelihood of staying with you for a longer period of time. Everyone likes to be appreciated!

  • Be sympathetic to your employee’s ideas and desires. Every individual has unique goals and dreams. Find out about those desires and do what you can to help the employee meet them. A younger employee might be saving to buy a house, while established employees might want more time with their children. Make sure not to stifle your employees’ wishes. They need to know that you are genuinely interested in helping them reach their dreams, both in employment and in life.
  • Be honest with employees about the future, both the firm’s and their own. How do you discuss the company's future? Many managers call employee meetings to talk about growth and profits, assuming employees value these things. However, many employees leave these meetings with the feeling that if they work harder, others will see the benefits of their labor. Instead, talk about the company's future in terms of the employees. Increased earnings might yield greater opportunities for training or other desirable benefits. Future expansion means more promotion from within.

Employee loyalty is as simple as showing them respect. Respect for their contributions and respect for their future with your company. If they feel that their career and the firm are moving forward together, I guarantee that they will be much less likely to bolt for greater compensation.

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